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News/Business. (2010) After discredited claims that a husband sexually abused her children, a woman takes the kids and runs. New. (CC) (Stereo)

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01:00:00

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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528

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Turkey 30, Oscar 20, U.s. 16, Michigan 9, Us 9, Linda Yaman 5, Gus 4, Joran Van Der Sloot 4, Dearborn 3, Helen 3, Europe 3, Stephanie Flores 2, Sam 2, Campbell 2, Emily 2, Applebee 's 2, Red Lobster 2, Zantac 2, America 2, Athens 2,
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  NBC    Dateline NBC    News/Business.  (2010) After discredited claims that a  
   husband sexually abused her children, a woman takes the kids and...  

    September 10, 2010
    9:00 - 10:00pm PDT  

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everything. >> an exclusive primetime interview from prison. >> a whole web of problems, but i created all of them myself. >> who is the man spinning this web? >> dangerous man with two faces. kindly but dangerous. >> the dangerous faces, the chilling words of joran vander slt. >> i know it's right or okay, but that's how it was. >> joran van der sloot, behind bars. also tonight -- >> i was so panicked. >> it's too hard to go on. >> the police were going to be looking for us. >> a mother of two desperate, hiding, running from the law and her ex-husband. a cross-culturing marriage once happy. >> hello, mom. we're in turkey now. >> then gone sour. >> every e-mail just kept getting worse and worse and worse. >> a young mother convinced her husband was a danger to their daughters, but a foreign court
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awarded him custody. >> how were they going to do that, take them away from me? >> she grabbed the girls and fled. >> i put them on that boat and they took off. >> now she was a fugitive, accused of kidnapping. >> we go back to turkey, i go to tr prison. >> but what caused her fear? was it her husband or dark secrets in her own family's past? >> we did have abuse in our family. >> and what will happen to her children? >> we have two little girls that are totally innocent. >> "on the run." good evening and welcome to "dateline." our story begins with a devoted mother of two, an american living oversea overseas, and he foreign-born husband. a dark fear would destroy their marriage and turn her into an international fugitive.
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on the run for years with the two little girls she believed were in danger. but were they? here's keith morrison. ♪ >> these are stolen moments. in a world where doors slammed shut and fear is her daily companion. >> i don't know what to do. >> will authority come calling? will the next knock at the door expose them? and what will happen then? >> they could prosecute me if they found out the whole story. >> the whole story? she means the headlong flight from the law, the night crossing, the fake name, the terror of police. >> there's a cop looking at me. okay. >> and the self-imposed exile with its secret codes, its impossible demands, and her particular hope for the two little girls who are the reason at the heart of the whole
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disturbing puzzle. >> how were they going to do that, take them away from me? >> point your light in that dark place. what might you see? this is the story of a life on the run and the crucial heart-breaking question behind it. what answer would you give? the only way you'll know is this. to begin at the beginning. and that would be the love story. >> i was immediately attracted to him. >> her name is linda. >> i was working in the same department where he was studying for his ph.d. >> her mother, karen, saw it right away. >> she really had a twinkle in her eye. she fell for him immediately. >> karen, who knew her daughter linda so very well. >> they traveled together. >> linda said it's quite nice. >> it's very nice. >> i felt very close to my daughter. >> like sisters almost.
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so karen was proud of linda's college degree, as was her father, sam. they happily supported their daughter's decision to return to detroit, michigan, and wayne state university. >> she was also interested in environment, but for some reason, she went into another field, the cytotechnology. >> so she could read lab tests, working in cancer research. but the reason we're here is, as we say, the love story. >> i obviously remember linda saying i'm not going to get married. >> it was her lab partner who saw what happened, how linda suddenly changed. >> she started making mention of this guy. she was excited about it. >> it was a cross-cultural roman romance. two budding scientists. he was a visiting ph.d. student from turkey, oscar yaman. after they met, linda was not quite the same anymore. >> she just seemed to have that extra step in her -- i'm i'm in love, you know? >> it lasted, too.
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they dated three whole years while they worked on their degrees. linda's mother, karen, would say appropriately good things about her daughter's new boyfriend. in public at least. >> i thought he was fine. he was polite, friendly. he was very nice when i met him. >> and then in 2000, they wed. there was a ceremony in dearborn, michigan. and then another one in turkey. how was it being married to someone from a completely different culture, different way of growing up, different place? >> i thought here's a person who is well-educated, likes to travel. we have similar interests. we were happy. >> so now they were oscar and linda yaman. they settled down in dearborn. two years after their wedding, a baby girl arrived. we'll call her amy, though that isn't her real name. >> i was very proud to hold her
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right after she was born. >> and the whole world was open to their little family. they didn't have to stay in dearborn. not when more exotic notions beckoned. >> when i first met him, you know, i didn't know anything about turkey. i just thought it seemed like an interesting place. a different thing to do with my life. >> so just before amy's first birthday, linda had an announcement for her family. actually, two. one, she was pregnant again. there would be another baby. and, two, oscar had been offered a prestigious teaching job at an important university back in turkey. they'd be moving overseas. the news was not exactly what linda's mother, karen, had been hoping to hear. >> that's not something that i really liked the thought of. and my first granddaughter, my only granddaughter actually. >> but if karen was unhappy about the move, linda, as her
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friends couldn't help but see, was excited. >> she just had this great attitude about. she really was excited about it. >> and so the adventure began. >> hello, mom. we're in turkey now. >> new land, new culture, new friends, new family. >> we'll see you later. >> and what would happen there? well, that gets to the dark heart of it, doesn't it? >> i remember one time he said to me, i didn't marry you for your looks. he said i married you because i thought you were a nice person. now i see you're not a nice person. >> so how it can turn. intrigue, excitement, and then a moment of suspicion, a whiff of scandal, and happy anticipation dissolves in a private horror. coming up, linda hears an unspeakable accusation against her usidsa,ba>> su hesaid, you sure of what i saw.
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♪ hello. i'm linda. and this is my wonderful husband oscar. >> on the face of it, oscar and linda yaman's new life in turkey seemed, well, happy. it was busy, exciting. big new job for him. brand new country for her. along with a 2-year-old and another baby on the way. so it was stressful, too. especially as she discovered this living abroad thing wasn't going to be so easy. >> i was suffering from culture shock when i first got there. >> turkey, buzzing all around her. in words and habits and foods she simply couldn't fathom. >> we're having cold yogurt,
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which i don't eat. >> it was difficult. and then, you know, going from english-speaking country to a country where i couldn't speak the language, i couldn't understand. >> linda's mother, karen, flew to turkey, spent a month there, helping her adjust. >> hi, mom. >> she seemed happy. trying to settle in. >> but when karen went home, linda says she sank into a crushing loneliness. she was pregnant and overwhelmed by even the simplest things. >> just going out to the store, you know, grocery shopping. >> to make matters worse, linda says it seemed to her that oscar, so busy at the university, didn't understand her anxiety. >> i really felt that i should have the support of my husband. during this really difficult time. >> frustrations boiled. >> do you remember what we talked about? >> fights were more frequent. >> he was telling me, you don't deserve to be married. you didn't deserve me. my mom, she noticed it. she said, you know, linda, he's
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not supportive to you here in turkey. >> she opened up in e-mails to her friend, mary tracy. >> she had a really difficult time just really communicating. it just wasn't working out as smoothly as i know she had hoped and planned for. every e-mail just kept getting twu worse and worse and worse. >> still, in august 2003 when linda and oscar welcomed their second baby into the world, a girl we'll call emily, life seemed much better again. oscar relished the role of doting father. oscar's college buddy, mike witten. >> oscar was there assisting linda and taking care of the children. he loved his kids very much. >> and then the event. the incident, if that's what it was. though when it happened, if it happened, no one said a thing. >> we had gone for a family vacation. >> baby emily was 5 months old. amy, 2 1/2. it was a trip home to michigan.
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and, this is important, they took a brief side trip. >> for two days and one night, we went down to missouri to visit my grandmother. and while we were there, i had to run out and while i was out, my husband was there with the kids and myground mrth. >> and now came the central moment in our story, the one that would change every bit of family history that came after it. oscar at home caring for the children, helen, linda's 82-year-old grandmother at home with them. and that's when helen watched through an open doorway, she would say later, as oscar changed amy's diaper, amy the toddl toddler, then 2 1/2. and if only there had been a picture just then. linda and oscar completed their visit, went back to turkey. and then three months later, three months of torment, said helen, she told linda's mother, karen, what she thought she saw. oscar as he changed that diaper
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seemed to take a long time. it seemed to her inappropriate. was her great-granddaughter being sexually molested? >> i wanted to tell my daughter as soon as possible and i wanted my daughter to keep an eye on him to see what was going on. and i felt that my daughter needed to know so that she could protect her children. >> karen phoned linda, now back in turkey. >> i was thrown into a state of confusion and i didn't know what to think. >> couldn't be true, could it? >> it's very hard for a mother. i was very torn. >> linda decided not to say a word to her husband. instead, she talked to her grandmother, whose memory with the passage of time now seemed quite certain. >> i asked her, you know, are you sure of what you saw? she said, you know, i'm 100% sure of what i saw. >> so linda started watching, watching like a hawk as oscar interacted with his daughters. before long, her own suspicions began to grow.
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more than once, said linda, when she left oscar alone with their girls she returned to find the eldest daughter's clothes had been changed. was that a sign of something? and more disturbing, she actually saw oscar showing signs of sexual arosal when he held 2 1/2-year-old amy. >> everything kind of ended up -- i got really afraid. >> did you take either of your daughters to a doctor in turkey to get an opinion about this? >> not in turkey. >> she contacted the u.s. embassy for help. the embassy's advice? go home, consult an expert in the u.s., and so she did. >> i was just feeling like i can't protect my children from my husband there in the house. >> so one morning soon after, linda waited until oscar had left for work, then rushed to the airport with the girls, flew back to michigan. that evening, oscar arrived home from the university to discover his family had vanished.
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he waited increasingly frantic and finally called her parents' house in michigan. unaware that linda had taken amy to a child advocacy center called the care house for tests. and when oscar got linda on the phone, she told him what her grandmother claimed to have seen. >> he said, oh, linda, no, no, no, no, no. it's a big misunderstanding. certainly i would never do something like that. no way. >> he was angry, too. he told her come home, he said. instead, she stayed in michigan waiting for the results of those tests. and inconclusive. the examiners found no physical evidence to indicate sexual abuse. but they told linda that didn't mean it didn't happen either. >> they said they couldn't rule out -- >> inconclusive? >> right. it was very emotional time. very confusing. >> confusing? oh, yes. who could she believe? what could she do? her mother karen insisted the
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allegation was true. begged her not to return to oscar. he swore it was not true. pleaded, come home. >> i loved him still. i missed him, you know. one day with him and then the next day gone. >> and so finally she decided over her mother's objections she returned to turkey. and -- >> that's a decision that i regret. to this day. to this moment. and a decision that would leave her lost in a legal and emotional nightmare. >> i was a crazy person, you know. saying that he was sexually abusing the girls and i was completely wrong. (birds chirping) like strolling in an orchard ♪ is this my husband? awesome cool hat, mom oh my perfect kids
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i loved him, i missed him, i was torn. >> linda was in turmoil. had she accepted too easily her grandmother's accusations and her mother karen's now undisguised dislike of her husband, oscar? in fact, after many phone calls home to oscar, linda decided her grandmother and mother were quite simply wrong. there had been no sex abuse. and so in june 2004, she returned to oscar in turkey. in defiance of her mother's
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repeated and very vocal objections. >> i was worried about her actually because she'd already accused him and i didn't know what would happen to her. >> but now back home with oscar, linda was convinced her mother was the problem, not her husband. >> it's mauyour mother, it's yo grandmother. >> she agree wou gregreed oscar to restore her marriage. that's when a secret window opened. a window into a sometimes troubled family past. it came in the form of an angry letter linda wrote to her mother karen's therapist. intensely private, of course. or so she thought. she told me she hated my husband from the beginning and that she wished she'd killed him before we were married. she would scream at me if i expressed doubts that he was a molester. she would throw or break things and they would cry. why did her mother, karen, think those things?
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because of a dark history of sex abuse involving her grandfather, karen's father, and a female member of the family. the abuse went on for years, she wrote, and was so traumatizing for karen that it made her paranoid, inclined to see sexual abuse even where none existed. >> under all this stress and the emotional tension. i bought into that. >> still, linda says she was uneasy. so she'd pleaded with oscar to protect the girls from anything that might be construed as sex abuse. >> oscar, please make me feel comfortable. i was hoping things would get better. >> oscar complied or seemed to. >> he told me basically, no, you have to put these thoughts out of your head of this abuse or we just can't continue. >> and then another moment which would alter all that came next.
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it was evening two months later, she said. she lifted amy from oscar's lap and saw what looked like male arousal, but oscar said it was normal, nothing to do with amy. linda didn't buy it. >> it didn't get into his mind that this kind of behavior is not okay. he knew it was bothering me. and he just -- he thought it was okay. it's okay. >> then, says linda, little amy began to tell her disturbing things, complained that her pp heard and that was her father who hurt her. >> she said absolutely no way. >> and now linda's opinion did a complete reversal. she decided that her mother and grandmother must have been right after all. and she reremembmembered the ad the child care people in michigan had given her. document your suspicions. so linda began following oscar around the house with a video camera, taping his interactions with the girls.
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and he, furious, afraid she'd leave again and take the children with her, demanded linda hand over the girls' u.s. passports. >> as a show of good faith, i said, you know, here. i put the passports in his father's safe. and i said, i'm not leaving. let's deal with this in turkey. >> but it was too late. the marriage was over. at the end of 2004, six months after linda's return, oscar moved out. >> it was a terrible situation. he's saying, i'm going to take the children away from you. and that was this major fear. that's when i started looking for help, how can i prove this? >> linda took amy to a child psychologist in istanbul who, she claims, gave her a conclusive answer. >> your daughter was definitely abused by her father. >> but then linda says the psychologist spoke to oscar, heard his side of the story. >> and all of a sudden there was a huge change in what she said.
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she said, i can't write that report the way i was going to write it now. >> which mattered a great deal because now they were in divorce court where linda said she couldn't afford to pay a translator, so she struggled to understand that oscar was asking for custody of the girls and was claiming that linda was delusional, even schizophrenic, not fit to be a mother. >> i was a crazy person, you know, saying that he was sexually abusing the dwigirls. >> then oscar introduced that letter linda sent to her mother's therapist. the one that revealed the family history of sex abuse. but don't worry, her lawyer told her. the mother always gets custody. he was wrong. >> the turkish judge expressed really strong bias. he said to my husband, what is your job? he said i'm a professor. he said, how old is the child? 2. he had this look on his face
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like, that can't be. >> custody to oscar. so was it over? well, not even close. linda immediately filed an appeal and was allowed to retain custody of the girls while she waited. a year and a half into an increasingly vicious contest, linda faced the judge of the court of appeals. it was decision day again. >> here i was standing there, no translator, you know, and i get this uneasy feeling that something is going on that's important. so he started making his judgment, and i wasn't quite sure what was going on. >> and she felt her world fall apart. a second court had now ruled custody to oscar. >> how were they going to do that, take them away from me? >> but it still wasn't over. linda was allowed one last appeal. this time all the way up to the turkish supreme court.
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and, again, during the long wait the girls lived with linda. except, as you'll see, linda and her mother, karen, were not just idly waiting. nor was the mysterious man they were calling. >> grandmother kept calling me. i said, don't do anything crazy. >> but was it crazy what they did? or was it even the right thing to do? >> i told them i would get the little girls out of turkey. and later on "dateline," an exclusive interview. the prime suspect in the disappearance of natalee holloway and the killing of stephanie flores. joran van der sloot speaks out. >> i myself lied many times and i was really good at making up stories. >> what is his story now?
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in july 2007, the supreme court of turkey announced it had a final verdict in the custody case of oscar and linda yaman. >> i was so panicked. >> the daughter linda accused oscar of abusing was now 5 years old. the decision? 4 out of 5 judges ruled for oscar. >> i felt that the system had totally failed the girls in protecting them. >> the doubt she'd felt about her mother's accusations, gone
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now. >> i was 100% sure that the abuse had happened. >> linda called her parents back in michigan. >> i was very concerned immediately that the children would go to him right then. >> they had to get out of there quick. >> and, in fact, linda's mother, karen, had already put a drastic plan in motion, which involved this man. what are parents like when they come to you looking for help? >> they come to us in desperation. >> karen typed in the words "child recovery" and up popped a name, tampa-based gus zimaura, a former army ranger who specialized in what he called snatchback. he finds abducted children, returns them to their rightful parents. when karen told her story, he just assumed that linda had legal custody. so he told karen he'd do it, get linda and the girls out of turkey. he stead would cost $70,000. so these parents remortgaged
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their house and wired the cash. >> i told them i'd need a week to prepare and i'd get the little girls out of turkey. >> you knew it would be breaking the law. >> i knew that, but whatever consequences there were going to be for me, that's not as important as protecting those girls. >> so in late july, 2007, gus flew to turkey and began putting together linda's escape plan. >> we had contacts in bulgaria. i had a vast network of associates in eastern europe that would do anything for money. >> the plan, drive linda and the girls to turkey's northern border. they could be out of turkey in 48 hours, but they'd have to move fast. >> i called linda. everything is ready. she said, well, i can't go. i said what do you mean you can't go? she said i can't be in the car to go with the children when they cross the border. >> the mother who wanted to escape her ex-husband and rescue her kids now seemed paralyzed by fear, said dwgus.
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>> we're stuck in turkey with a mother who refused to go with the children. we couldn't figure it out. >> gus called karen back in michigan. >> she's in a tizzy, demanding that her daughter was going to do what her daughter had to do to rescue the children. i thought somebody needs to be in control. linda was lethargic, she was afraid. >> frustrated, gus started working on a plan "b," a plan he shed was much riskier that would take longer. >> we were networking a water exit to get to greece. >> that's when karen flew to turkey to give the plan a hurry-up, waiting, she told gus, was not an option. >> the grandmother said we're worried. he wants to take the children for ten days. we're afraid that once he takes them, he won't give them back. >> plan "b" wasn't ready, gus told them. sit tight, wait. but the women seemed panicked he said and suddenly and without any green light from gus, linda and karen snatched up the girls and took off by bus and soon after, oscar drove past linda's
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house and it looked vacant. he called her cell phone. >> he called me and said, what's going on? are you leaving? i said, no, no, no, we're coming back. we're coming back for the weekend. >> but they didn't return. days grew into a week, then two, then three. oscar called day and night. she didn't pick up. he must be on to them. anxiety was a fever now. >> i thought the police were going to be looking for us. were people going to be looking for us? >> all nerves now and in hiding, the women called gus, begged him to hurry. >> the boat exit was probably a week out. >> patience, he told them. act normal. >> there were sometimes when i was sure somebody was coming. >> linda disguised herself, cut and dyed her hair. but one last snag in gus' escape plan. he couldn't find a boat to rent. so instead he just bought one. >> they wanted 12,000 for the boat. i said, okay. you know, work your magic, get
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us the boat. >> and finally, in the dark of night, after five frightened weeks in hiding, they gathered up what they could carry and hurried to a local harbor. >> put them on that boat and they took off. >> 40 minutes, a rough crossing in the black of night with two little girls hidden in the boat to a small greek island miles from the turkish coast. >> i was extremely relieved to be out ofturic turkey. >> remember, only linda had her u.s. passport. oscar had the girls' passports in his safe in turkey. >> is there going to be checking documents? are they going to find out what's really going on? >> passports were the next step, said gus. he saw them off on the next leg of their escape, a 12-hour ride on a tourist ferry to athens. linda was to head straight to the u.s. embassy. >> i said, you can't take anything with you that's turkish. all your documents, your i.d. cards and everything, you give them to us. when you get to your embassy, tell you you lost your
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passports. >> but it wouldn't be as easy as that. even though linda obtained a new report that concluded that she had been sexually abused, the u.s. embassy in athens soon discovered linda was a fugitive from a legitimate turkish court order. so it refused to issue the girls new u.s. passports. linda and karen phoned gus. >> i go, well, here's the deal, linda. you're out, you have your children. she goes, the lady in the embassy said they're not giving us passports. >> and that's when gus riealize the women had not been straight with him. he told us he thought linda had legal custody of her girls. had he known the truth at the beginning, he says he wouldn't have taken the case. >> we were in this catch 22. we didn't want to pass judgment and not help them and send the children back to an abusive environment. this goes back to the old saying
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that the client is always the enemy. >> and that was the last gus heard from linda. a woman now perpetually on the run. >> panic started to set in. >> she made her way through the cities of southern europe, appealing for help along the way. and finally rejected yet again, she realized she had no choice. if she wanted to keep those girls, she would have to disappear, perhaps for a very long time. she was now state less, homeles. >> will there be a warning out about me kidnapping the kids? >> and a wanted fugitive. coming up, learning how to live a life on the run. >> whenever we would go through a border, i'd get very nervous, very tense, adrenalin pumping. [ male announcer ] at pizza hut, everyone loved our $10 any pizza deal
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linda yaman, daughters in tow, was on the run, a fugitive from a turkish court. she was a woman terrified of border guards, of police, of capture. >> i put the girls -- the little foot area where you put your foot, put pillows down there. >> you put them down on the floor so they couldn't be seen? >> uh-huh. >> she'd been on the road for months since the u.s. embassy denied her request for u.s. passports for the girls. >> whenever we would go through
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a border, i'd get very nervous, very tense, adrenalin pumping. >> she started north toward albania and kept driving through the coastal cities of europe three long months on the road. until they arrived here and stopped running. but still in hiding, oh, yes. >> see there? there's a cop looking at me. he was just wondering why i was backing up. >> here was their apartment, a secret place in a small western european town. we agreed not to reveal which one. here they were stuck, wanted by authorities in turkey unable to return to america. we found a deep sense of sadness here. a quiet desperation. >> if i focus on the problems then it's just -- it's too hard to go on.
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>> here there was a bed for the girls, a couch for her. and when it was vital, when she had to go out -- >> it's 7:35 now. and i'm going to work. >> she was a scientist once. she specialized in cancer research. she cleans toilets now. and once in a while, someone paid her for an english lesson. >> we've had a change our lifestyleñrñiçóçó a little bit. we don't go out to eat. we don't buy little things or, you know, just the basics and necessities. >> what is that like for you? >> i have two lives really. one is this normal me, i'm this american, you know, this english teacher traveling around europe. the other is the reality. i'm a refugee with my girls. >> but she became used to this life, hiding, one eye over her shoulder. >> i try to put that out of my head. you can't function like that on a day-to-day basis. >> can you use your real name?
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>> i had to use my real name. >> had to, she said, to apply for work. >> hello, sweetie. >> just as she evaded the authorities, she also dodged the inevitable questions from her daughter's teachers, from administrators at the school. she knew a day was coming when she couldn't avoid them anymore. >> i just dread when there's another time, you know, when the school is going to ask about their documents. >> and privately, frequently, she was both sad -- >> i don't know what to do. >> and afraid. >> i can't go around andcr arou my ks. >> okay. have to get ready to go then. >> only linda's parents, karen and sam, knew where she really was. they talk by skype. >> hi, grandpa. >> sent care packages for their granddaughters and having financed their daughter's life
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on the run, they struggled with worry and debt. there's been a considerable amount of personal sacrifice the two of you have gone through. >> yes. >> how much has this cost you? >> everything we own and more. we mortgaged our home. >> so now you're up to your ears in debt. >> over our ears, yes. we're about to go under. >> linda told "dateline" the girls rarely asked about their dad and she avoided talking about him. but even if she wished she could, linda could hardly ignore oscar or the past. once he discovered linda had fled turkey with the girls, oscar filed charges accusing her of kidnapping her own children. >> if the government found out about the issues about me, you know, they might just deport us from the country. you know, i can't think about it. i can't think about it. i just can't. >> but, of course, that is exactly what she did all the time every day. >> it's -- i absolutely hate the
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idea of having to uproot again and go someplace else and start again. >> but was oscar even at this moment looking for them? how far would he go to get his little girls back? >> there's no end in sight, you know? have to hide somewhere again if my husband was coming after us or something. >> oh, but something was coming all right. it was getting very close now. though here in her secret hiding place, she could have no idea as we spoke just what it was going to be. coming up, high-powered help. but will they be released from legal limbo? >> we have two kids, two little girls, that are totally innocent. and later on "dateline," a surprising admission from
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we're definitely in a limbo situation. definitely. it's not good. no. it's untenable. how can you stay in this situation? >> for 2 1/2 years they've been living in hiding, running from the law. linda yaman and her two little
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girls were in europe, no passports to take them to america. >> we're americans. we shouldn't go back to turkey. you go back to turkey, i go to prison. >> she knowingly abducted her children. she claims she had no choice. so is oscar, her ex-husband, a danger to the girls as she claims? is she guilty of sex abuse? not just one but three turkish courts have said no, he is not. when you had a chance to think, do i really want to run or not, you'd do it again? >> yeah, i'd do it again, sure. >> when we asked oscar for an interview, he thanked us for the offer but declined. he maintained his innocence. he called his ex-wife's allegations dreadful and nasty and cruel. he also said he is heartbroken. he has no idea where his daughters are. he's haunted by the idea that they live as fugitives. he did send us a raft of materials. these are the turkish court's
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opinions along with reports of psychiatrists and other experts who contend that no abuse occurred. that oscar was a great father and that the children's rightful place is with him. and with all the running, the hiding, the fake names, the terror of police, could it all have been paranoia based on that sordid family history? that's a question we put to karen's mother, linda. >> i cannot talk about that. it's privacy. but we did have some abuse in our family, a certain amount. >> well, quite a bit actually, i think, wasn't it? i mean, it went on for years. >> as far as affecting my relationship or any of our family members, it was never a part of our lives. >> bingham mccutchen took on linden's case pro bono. they filed an appeal with the u.s. state department on behalf of linda and the girls asking the u.s. government to reconsider issuing the girls passports without requiring
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oscar's consent. her attorneys cited humanitarian concerns. >> we have two kids, two little girls, that are totally innocent. we have a mom who was faced with a decision that no mom should ever be faced with, which is to stay there in turkey and try to work things out with a system that wasn't listening to her. she gave up everything to leave the country with them and now they found themselves as legal nomads. >> the lawyers claim that even though linda's case reached the turkish supreme court, she was railroaded by the turkish legal system. experts were not cross-examined. they also claimed that oscar's position as a professor prejudiced the court. >> he holds a very prestigious opinion in their society. the court says we find it hard to believe that someone of his stature and status would be able to do such a thing.
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>> in december, in a closed hearing, the u.s. state department considered their arguments and heard linda's case for special passports. >> these girls have been horribly victimized. they need to live normal lives. >> the case has presented a thorny diplomatic dilemma for the state department. behind it, a case of he said she said and turkey is a key u.s. ally. the u.s. state department issued its finalditi decision. it warned linda it will not help her evade turkish legal authorities. so another crushing defeat. well, no. because at the conclusion of what appeared to be a stern lecture, the answer was yes. the state department agreed to issue the girls temporary u.s. passports. why? because, said the state department, none of it was their fault. and they shouldn't have to live in hiding illegally.
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>> this is wonderful. it's a dream come true. >> and so for all her worry, it was not the police, not arrest, but relief that came to this drab little european hideout. and here we watched as linda and the girls prepared for the trip home. >> some things you have to leave behind, but i got the most important things. the girls. >> and for the little girls, excitement. then this past april, she walked with her girls into a u.s. consulate office in europe and at the airport the next day an official handed over temporary passports for the girls, valid for just five days. >> look, mommy. something on the plane opened. >> a few hours later, they landed in the u.s. for the first time in six years, no happy family reunion at the airport, though. linda was greeted by lawyers. >> we're just ecstatic to have her here and